Lucy Mawia Muli on her way to winning in Bydgoszcz (© Pawel Skraba)
Lucy Mawia and teenager Levy Kibet secured a Kenyan double at the Cross Country Bydgoszcz na Start, producing convincing victories at the World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold event at the city’s Myslecinek Park on Sunday (23).
Mawia, who finished second overall in last year’s World Cross Country Tour, bided her time on the first two laps of the 2km course and finally made a move on the final circuit to open up a 10-second lead by the time she reached the finish line.
A large pack of 10 runners ran together through the opening 2km lap, covered in 7:12. The pace then started to increase, and by the half-way stage just five women remained in contention: Mawia, fellow Kenyans Maureen Cherotich and Lilian Jepkemboi, Ethiopia’s Tsiyon Abebe and Ukraine’s Viktoria Kaliuzhna. By the end of the second lap, though, Mawia had just Abebe and Cherotich for company.
Mawia started to push on and reached the finish line of the 6km race in 20:11, 10 seconds ahead of world U20 3000m silver medallist Abebe. Cherotich finished a comfortable third in 20:27.
The men’s race similarly boiled down to three principal contenders, though they emerged much earlier in the race.
Levy Kibet wins in Bydgoszcz (© Pawel Skraba)
Kibet, the eventual winner, ran alongside Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew and Uganda’s Joel Ayeko for most of the race, covering the first 2km lap in 5:59 before reaching the half-way point in 11:53. The pace increased again on the next lap, which was covered in 5:46.
But Kibet, the 2021 world U20 5000m bronze medallist, had the better finish and pulled away from his opponents in the closing stages to win in 23:18. Balew was second in 23:25, nine seconds ahead of Ayeko.
1 Lucy Mawia Muli (KEN) 20:11
2 Tsiyon Abebe (ETH) 20:21
3 Maureen Cherotich (KEN) 20:27
4 Viktoria Kaliuzhna (UKR) 20:40
5 Moira Stewartova (CZE) 20:48
1 Levy Kibet (KEN) 23:18
2 Birhanu Balew (BRN) 23:25
3 Joel Ayeko (UGA) 23:34
4 Maciej Megier (POL) 24:35
5 Mikolaj Czeronek (POL) 24:51